Get Guys Begging For A Second Date: Here's How

Dating expert Rachel Greenwald, author of "Why He Didn't Call You Back," discusses dating etiquette.

rachel greenwald dating advice

Ever wondered why a guy didn't call you back? Rachel Greenwald has the answer. She spent ten years interviewing over 1,000 guys, and she lays it all out in her new book, Why He Didn't Call You Back: 1,000 Guys Reveal What They REALLY Thought About You After Your Date.

According to Greenwald, "there are more failed first dates today than ever before." With the popularity of online dating, singles have come to expect perfection. Because why wouldn't you, when you can land a new date with a few clicks of a mouse?


But when it comes to marriage-minded men, Greenwald's research reveals that there are clear, consistent reasons men don't call women back. It all comes down to stereotypes.

"You can't make a meaningful decision about whether that person is right for you from a first or second date," says Greenwald. But in order to decide if someone has long-term potential, guys (and gals) use small cues to make big assumptions about their date's personality, lifestyle and character. "People are making decisions about whether a relationship could ultimately work based on very superficial data points."

Greenwald's book encourages women to be aware of the image they're projecting, and to make small adjustments to their behavior so that they can land a second or third date. "I don’t want to change you," says Greenwald. "I want to change the way you come across on the first date."


Greenwald has an MBA from Harvard business school, and published her first book, Find a Husband After 35: (Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School), in 2003. She leads a successful matchmaking business, and used her own tactics to find her own husband, so she knows whereof she speaks.

YourTango spoke to Greenwald about why you should never Facebook friend a guy before going out with him, who should pay for dinner and the number one reason men don't call you back.

YourTango: What is a successful first date?

Rachel Greenwald: To me a successful first or second date is simply an invitation to go out again. You can't really get to know who the person is deep down until you spend more time with them, so the lack of a follow-up date invitation means that someone has quickly stereotyped you.


What's the most common reason guys don't call back?

The number one reason why men didn't call a woman back is what I call The Boss Lady. This is a stereotype of a women who is very accomplished and successful and frankly fabulous in so many ways, but the man walks away from the date thinking that he's more interested in hiring her than dating her. He thinks she's argumentative, competitive, not feminine, controlling and not nurturing.

This is NOT a reflection of whether he could be happy with a Boss Lady. He probably would be, because the traits that initially come across as bossy may later be deemed forthright or confident.

So, what do you do if you're a Boss Lady?


If a women identifies herself as a Boss Lady I don't suggest that she change her personality; I suggest that she show the softer side of herself first, before the stronger side emerges. A lot of that has to do with just changing how she speaks.

There's an example of a date in the book about a couple that goes to a dinner party and the man watches his date argue with another guest about global warming. She very aggressive and she's trying to win every point, and he thinks that she's very argumentative and competitive.

The right way to change your delivery would be to make a softer. You could say, "It's great to see this issue get so much attention. I guess we'll see who's right in the long run." The delivery of these statements is a very superficial thing. You're actually saying the same thing, but you're delivering it in a more gracious and open minded way.

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What was the most surprising deal breaker?

One of ones that I found most interesting was the "Never Ever." I really was struck by it because I use superlative language all the time and I don't think anything of it. I would hear men talk about a woman saying she would "never" do something, and it really surprised me that men were taking them so literally. In hindsight it makes sense, because of course he doesn't know you so he doesn't know if you really mean it when you say, "I'd never move out of New York."

Can you explain your exit interview strategy?

We get feedback in every other part of our lives except for dating. We buy a book on Amazon and we see all the customers who wrote reviews. You go to plan a trip and you look on trip advisor and you see people's candid impressions of a hotel. We see feedback in all these areas, but in perhaps the most important area of our life there's no candid feedback mechanism? It's ridiculous. That's sort of the foundation of the exit interview.


What was one of the most memorable exit interviews you had?

I remember one guy describing how he met someone for a first date and he walked into the restaurant just as she was just coming out of the ladies' room. She had washed her hands and hadn't drifted them very well. When they shook hands her palm was kind of wet and he had this very, very slight aversion, like "eww." And it certainly wasn't the date breaker, but his negative impression began in that moment.

Most people in the United States don't feel comfortable kissing someone on the cheek when they first meet, and a handshake is too business-y. I recommend a kind of feminine handshake where you use both hands and cup his hand between yours. If you do that with warm, soft hands and you look in his eyes it's an amazing way to see if there's any physical chemistry.

Do you have any other tips like that?


The most important thing you can do on a first date, especially if you've been fixed up by a third party, is to remember that you're not only on a date with that man; you're also at the table with the person who set you up, as well as his five friends you don't even know yet. Your date is going to give feedback to whomever fixed you up, and your goal should be to get fixed up again by this person.

Your bad date is going to go tell them he had this bad or boring date, and it's such a small world someone he told will cross your path again and that person will already have formed the impression that you're too boring or you're obnoxious. So your reputation is at stake when you're on a bad date.

That reminds me of something you wrote in the book—you say that you should never invite a guy to be your friend on Facebook or any social network before going out with him.

Your Facebook page is a Petri dish of possible misinterpretations. Lets say you've filled in ten TV shows. Someone who looks at that might think, "That person is a couch potato. Who watches that much TV? They mustn't be that intelligent." Or say, for whatever reason, you only have 20 friends. Your date could start to think "hmm, this person is kind of introverted or kind of a loser." Or they could see someone on your page that they hate. Gosh, that doesn't reflect very well on you. It's ridiculous. You just jump to way to many conclusions. Don't even get me started on political views and religious views.


These are topics you should never talk about on a first date, presumably?

Yes, because again, these are mine fields. Until somebody knows you better there are just too many ways they could misinterpret what you say. The topics you should stick to are interests that are universally thought highly of like books, movies, travel, and family in certain ways—not everything about your family. Talk about the good parts of your family like where you grew up, but not the fact that your mother's a Jehovah's Witness and your dad has a criminal record.

What do you think about physical contact on the first date?

I think a goodnight kiss is great. I think that's often a really good barometer of whether there is the physical chemistry. But I think that's as far as it should go. As it is in business, leave the customer wanting more.


You found in your interviews that men like to pay for dinner on the fist date.

I did. Eighty-four percent of men said that want to and expect to pay for dinner. The tricky part is that they don't want women to expect it. So when the check comes, reach for your purse and make a gesture that you are wiling to pay. Most of the time they're going to tell you, "I got it." So just say, "Thank you very much. I really appreciate it." That's all they're looking for.

Is there anything you want to add that you think people should know?


I really want women to understand that the ability to get information about how you're perceived on a date is so empowering. Some women say they'd rather not know because it would hurt their feelings, but the reality is that information is power. Even if you're the most beautiful, popular girl, you need to know why somebody got the wrong impression of you so that when the right guy comes along you're in control of the message.

So it sounds like ultimately you want women to have other people conduct exit interviews for them.

Yes. You have two choices: either hire a professional dating coach or find one person who can call a few of your former dates and get that information for you. My book has an entire chapter on how to train them to conduct exit interviews for you. I also have a list of professional resources on my website that lists 4 or 5 dating coaches I've trained.

One last thing. Why do men call women back?


The overriding reason I found is going to sound almost boring. When a man is marriage-minded he's look for a truly nice person. When I first heard that I thought "Oh, that's a bad, it's code for boring." But the truth is, the things that made men think "this woman is a quality person who has long-term potential" were things that were nice.

An example is the guy who met his date at Starbucks and she accidentally spilled a little sugar and instead of presuming that the Starbucks employee would clean it, she did it herself. It's a totally, totally small thing, but he remembered it. We make instant judgments, and men's most positive memories had to do with someone being nice, kind, thoughtful and emphatic. But you can't say that you're those things. He'll extract that information from your gestures or comments.

Want more? Take our quiz to find out if you fit one of the top five dating stereotypes.